This past weekend myself and my friend pulled off an AMAZING surprise engagement party for my friend Tori. It was quite an adventure throwing everything together in one week before she arrived in Pittsburgh. I’m here to tell you how we did it so you can pull it off too!
1. Venue, Food, Decor
Alright, so the first thing you need to do for the party is pick and date and venue. We knew Saturday would be best because we would have all day to prep the food and decor. We didn’t have to worry about which weekend because she was only home for one weekend. For venue, we knew it had to be a friend’s house or apartment because of current COVID restrictions in Pennsylvania. We decided on her sister’s apartment because we could naturally get the bride-to-be to the apartment without raising any flags.
We invited around 25-30 people arriving around 4:00pm and knew we would have to provide some substantial food because people would be there for the long haul. We decided to make Buffalo chicken dip, pasta salad, spinach dip, chips, guac, salsa, cookies, cupcakes, brownies & more. Everyone chipped in and brought a snack or alcohol which worked out perfectly. Later in the evening you can feel out the vibe and decide if you want to order pizza as the party really settles in. We ordered 3 pizzas about 3 hours into the party. For alcohol we provided a few cases of Truly’s, a box of Barefoot Rosé and a box of Barefoot Red Blush. Between everyone we also had about 20 bottles of champagne. It was perfect! People also brought some of their own drinks as well.
For decor we decided on rose gold and gold. I went to my trusty Five Below to get a gold fringe backdrop, white and gold plates, napkins and cutlery, a gold mylar tablecloth, and two sparkly pink runners. After I locked in those basics I went to Amazon for the engagement specific decorations. I found a rose gold banner that said “engaged” and came with sparkly balloons and ring confetti. When I added that to the cart I got the “frequently bought with” section where I found adorable glittery circle garland, and photo props. My friend ordered a DIY balloon arch that matched the decor as well! They are time consuming but SO worth the price compared to professionally made arches.
2. Managing the Guest List
Next up was inviting everyone. We had to make sure we waited until after the engagement before we invited everyone so we didn’t spoil the exciting news. After Kyle popped the question, we went to work on inviting everyone. The groom, Kyle, knew the party was happening but we still wanted certain things to be a surprise so we took care of his friends and the bride’s friends. Dream big with the list because people will likely make the trip for something this exciting. We had the groom’s sister and brother-in-law come in from DC and a friend from Philly able to attend. The groom’s parents weren’t able to travel up from Atlanta, but they Facetimed in and also sent an edible arrangement! We gave everyone the deets and made sure they would play along when Tori reached out to make her own celebration plans.
3. Ensuring the Surprise
Having the groom as your insider is a HUGE help. He definitely threw the bride off the scent of the party by acting like he had plans with his friends on Saturday and wouldn’t be able to meet up with us to celebrate until later on in the night. With the guests we had to pull a little trickery. The bride obviously wanted to coordinate a small celebration as she worried if too many people were invited, people wouldn’t want to come because of COVID. I convinced her going to Coop DeVille would be a fun vibe. She wanted to check out the Pittsburgh hot spot so she created a couple group messages to invite her crew. She decided she wanted to have a little celebration at her friend’s house post dinner and drinks. The whole guest list knew to play along so we had some people agree to the plan while others said they would try to make it but it was short notice. This was even better because she wasn’t expecting to see everyone. The days leading up we had to keep up the ruse so we would ask the bride about details and say how excited we were to hang out!
4. Day of Coordination
Right before the engagement happened I had told the bride I would take her to get a blowout when she visited. This way she wouldn’t be suspicious if I asked her after all the plans were in motion. She thought the blowout was a surprise for being engaged, but really it was a way to get her with me and distracted before the surprise. I went to her sister’s apartment at 1:30pm the day of the party to blow up the balloon arch and put up all the decorations. We also decided where the photo wall would be and where we would put gifts and snacks. I had to leave to pick up the bride for our hair appointments at 3:30pm. I arrived at her parents’ house where she was staying and helped her pick out a cute outfit that included a white sweater (bc bride obvi). The appointment took around an hour at DryBar Pittsburgh and we were looking glammed up. We headed to her sister’s to “give her a ride to Coop DeVille” and I told her I couldn’t hold it and had to go to the bathroom at her apartment. I played dumb on which apartment number it was because I was supposed to have never been there before. We were ready to walk through the door at 5:15pm. We had her open the door first and everyone shouted surprise and she burst into tears! She said it was so emotionally overwhelming to not only be surprised, but to have her family and friends together to celebrate when she hadn’t seen us all together since before COVID.
5. THE PARTY!
Tori, the bride, was so shocked and surprised to see everyone all together. Many photos were taken, champagne toasts occurred, gifts were opened and love was celebrated. Everyone enjoyed the food and the company and we partied the night away. It was the perfect way to celebrate the engagement and show Tori how loved she and Kyle are.
If you ever decide to take on this task and throw an engagement party for your friends, use this as a guide because it went off without a hitch! Cheers to the happy couple Tori & Kyle!!